Resort's Park Models Appeal to Traditional RVers

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October 26, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Wayne Davidson of Alberta sold his motorhome last spring.

But like many retired Canadians, he’s still planning to spend the winter at Golden Village Palms RV Resort in Hemet. Only this time, he’ll be doing it in a 400-square-foot recreational park trailer or park model cottage.

“We decided we’d had enough of RVing,” said Davidson, 69, adding that he and his wife had spent 30 years traveling across North America in recreational vehicles.

But while the Davidsons eventually outgrew the need to travel by RV, they enjoy the social lifestyle and recreational amenities that Golden Village Palms provides as much as ever, including its swimming pools, exercise room and activities schedule. And buying a park model and placing it on a leased site at the resort is the perfect way to continue the lifestyle, minus the RV.

Ron Dipple of Poulsbo, Wash., has a similar perspective. While he and his wife, Kathy, spent the past 10 years traveling across the country, the best winter option for them was purchasing a park model and having it sited at Golden Village Palms.

Still relatively unknown to most consumers, “park models” are 400-square-foot factory-built cottages, complete with fullsize bathrooms and kitchen appliances. Typically upscale in appearance, they often include hardwood floors, bay windows and lofts as well as cherry, oak or maple cabinetry. And since they are technically classified as recreational vehicles, they can be placed on campsites in RV parks and resorts and used as vacation cottages.

Meanwhile, growing numbers of RV parks and resorts in California and across the Sunbelt are making their sites available to park model buyers as a way to diversify their business base, said William Garpow, executive director of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), the trade association that represents park model manufacturers.

At Golden Village Palms, park models account for more than a fourth of the resort’s campsites, said Greg Sidoroff, who oversees the property for La Jolla-based Sunland RV Resorts, which owns the resort.

“We’re actually trying to reach out to more snowbirds who are non-RVers, but want to enjoy the resort amenities and activities we provide,” Sidoroff said. He noted that Golden Village Palms provides affordable resort-style amenities, including discounts to a neighboring golf course, billiards room, state-of-the-art exercise center, library and computer room as well as a full activity schedule that includes classes in cooking, art, low impact water exercise, water volleyball and square dancing. The resort also hosts annual shuffleboard tournaments.

Davidson and Dipple said these activities and amenities, combined with friendships they developed with other winter visitors and Hemet’s warm winter climate, sold them on buying park models and having them set up at Golden Village Palms.

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